Activists Try to Free Birds

ADAIR VILLAGE, Ore. — An investigation is underway after someone cut open bird cages at a wildlife visitor area just north of Corvallis Thursday night.

An anonymous person claiming to be part of the Animal Liberation Front contacted KEZI 9 News claiming responsibility for the act, saying the group is trying to free the birds at the EE Wilson Wildlife Area outside of Adair Village. The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) manages the bird pens, and says many of the birds have been rescued and are happy where they are.

The person claiming to be part of the Animal Liberation Front says the birds at EE Wilson are caged, and are not free. But the ODFW says many of the birds have been rescued, and would immediately die if they were put into the wild.

“We’ve got one pheasant that’s blind,” said Tracy Thompson with ODFW. “So we’ve adapted his pen and the way we feed him and so forth for him to be comfortable.”

Members who say they are part of the animal liberation movement say they cut open several pens, hoping to free the birds. The ODFW saw the cut wire Friday morning.

“I’m heartbroken over it,” Thompson said. “Because these birds are an important part to EE Wilson.”

She says the birds, including different types of quail and pheasants, are also used for educational purposes. Many classes take field trips to see them, as do hundreds of other visitors every year.

Thompson says the pens are larger than what the US Veterinarian Society recommends.

“It’s like the Hilton for them, so why would they want to leave? And get eaten by a coyote or a hawk? If birds aren’t happy, they’re not healthy. And these are extremely healthy birds,” she said.

Two unoccupied and two occupied pens had been cut open, but the birds in the occupied pens did not leave.

“I was very happy to see that: A) no birds had gotten out, and: B) a predator hadn’t gotten in,” Thompson said.


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